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Call out procedure question Pennsylvania

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  • Call out procedure question Pennsylvania

    There has recently been a change in the call-out procedure at the company where I am employed (outside of the CBA, no rules stated in our CBA). We went from calling a supervisor to let them know we are calling out to simply calling the location where we work and one class of employee at that location is required to fill out a form and fill the shift following a set of guidelines.
    Two lines on the form have me concerned, one asks: Reason for calling out and the other Did you remind the employee to call a supervisor. I can check the no box for the reminder line, that is not really a problem until it becomes a problem, if that makes sense, but isn't the other question illegal under HIPAA? What if the emplyee tells me a personal medical problem, I write it down, and that leads to other problems?
    I have asked that this be removed and was told to 'let it go'.
    Stonemason
    Member
    Last edited by Stonemason; 09-10-2009, 08:07 AM.

  • #2
    NO. The other is NOT illegal under HIPAA.

    HIPAA limits who can RELEASE information. It DOES NOT prohibit asking questions.

    HIPAA is probably one of the most misunderstood laws out there and it is by no means as broad as most people think it is.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

    Comment


    • #3
      Exactly. Why can't you simply write "out sick" on the form?

      Comment


      • #4
        Very agreed. I am generally on the payroll/accounting side of things (not Human Resources), and we never are told why someone is out sick. We need to know someone is sick (as opposed to vacation), and we need to know if FMLA is in play (29 CFR 541.602 rules), but it ends there. The supervisor/manager has no greater need to know things then payroll, and there are stronger legal reasons to keep the supervisor/manager in the dark, because payroll generally cannot be accused of taking an illegal job action against an employee based on medical information that we had no business knowing in the first place (which is a potential issue for supervisors/managers).

        A well designed time accounting system will have all of this in mind.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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        • #5
          Thank you

          Thank you for your reply. I did forget to mention that we, as employees, are also directed to place this form 'on the desk' until a supervisor picks it up. Thanks for the reply.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by DAW View Post
            Very agreed. I am generally on the payroll/accounting side of things (not Human Resources), and we never are told why someone is out sick. We need to know someone is sick (as opposed to vacation), and we need to know if FMLA is in play (29 CFR 541.602 rules), but it ends there. The supervisor/manager has no greater need to know things then payroll, and there are stronger legal reasons to keep the supervisor/manager in the dark, because payroll generally cannot be accused of taking an illegal job action against an employee based on medical information that we had no business knowing in the first place (which is a potential issue for supervisors/managers).

            A well designed time accounting system will have all of this in mind.
            Now I am confused...with which are you agreeing? That I (as an employee) do not need to know this information, or that it is wrong for me (as an employee) to ask for this information? I understand that the EE calling out is the one 'releasing' the info, however, if the stated reason is on an unattended form, is that a problem?

            Comment


            • #7
              I agree, the sequence of answers is confusing.

              It does not violate HIPAA or any other law for you to ask for the information. In fact there are reasons why the employer NEEDS to have that information in some instances; Payroll's needs are as DAW has described - HR not only needs to know that the employee is out sick, but they need enough information to know whether or not FMLA or the ADA might apply. The employee may or may not have protections available to them and the only way HR can provide them, is to have the details of the reason for the absence.

              However, the immediate manager has no reason to know anything other than, out sick.
              The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by cbg View Post
                I agree, the sequence of answers is confusing.

                It does not violate HIPAA or any other law for you to ask for the information. In fact there are reasons why the employer NEEDS to have that information in some instances; Payroll's needs are as DAW has described - HR not only needs to know that the employee is out sick, but they need enough information to know whether or not FMLA or the ADA might apply. The employee may or may not have protections available to them and the only way HR can provide them, is to have the details of the reason for the absence.

                However, the immediate manager has no reason to know anything other than, out sick.
                How about another employee being required to ask the question, not a manager, an employee?

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                • #9
                  There are no laws that dictate who may and may not be designated by the employer to take the information. If there were, I would have told you in my first response.

                  I realize that for some reason you desperately want this policy to be illegal, but it just isn't. It may or may not be the best possible management or use of resources, but it IS NOT ILLEGAL.

                  I don't know how to make it any more plain than that.
                  The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Gotcha, thank you.

                    Comment

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